I don’t know much about disco, its history or the major artists who performed it. That’s because I don’t much like music that exists solely for you to dance to – I can’t help it but I like music that has an intellectual component to it more often than not. (And, if it doesn’t, I want that non-intellectual music to have some musical violence to it.)
But I do know funk rather well, and so I know how this is an evolution (or a devolution) from funk music. That’s my frame of reference for Chic’s second album; how this is slicker, poppier funk music without any of the grit and grime of the original stuff.
That’s not a good lens to look at a band who some consider to be the best of the disco bands.
If I didn’t know funk music, I’d likely find this music pretty damn funky. It’s certainly very danceable and I can understand why people like the whole record, not just the hit track. It’s too repetitive for me and lacks the defining things I like about funk music, including the solos. (There are solos here, but they are safe, pleasing things, not involving psychedelic effects.)
The melodies are strong enough for this music, though obviously the most catchy thing on here is “Le Freak.”
The lyrics, when they exist, are not great but are arguably better than most dance music lyrics I’m familiar with.
Though this music is not for me, I have a hard time criticizing it outside of my own personal objections to this kind of music. So I assume it is good.
All songs written by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers; except where indicated.
- “Chic Cheer” – 4:42
- “Le Freak” – 5:23
- “Savoir Faire” – 5:01
- “Happy Man” – 4:17
- “I Want Your Love” – 6:55
- “At Last I Am Free” – 7:08
- “Sometimes You Win” – 4:26
- “(Funny) Bone” – 3:41
- Alfa Anderson – Lead vocals (2, 5, 6, 7)
Robin Clark – [Backing Vocals] Dance, Dance, Dance, and Everybody Dance
Luci Martin – vocals
Bernard Edwards – Lead vocals (4, 7), bass guitar
Nile Rodgers – guitar, vocals
Tony Thompson – drums
Diva Gray – Lead vocals (2)
David Lasley – vocals
Luther Vandross – vocals
Robert Sabino – clavinet, acoustic piano and electric piano
Andy Schwartz – clavinet, acoustic piano and electric piano on “At Last I Am Free”
Raymond Jones – Fender Rhodes
Sammy Figueroa – percussion
Jose Rossy – tubular bells
Marianne Carroll (The Chic Strings) – strings
Cheryl Hong (The Chic Strings) – strings
Karen Milne (The Chic Strings) – strings
Jon Faddis – trumpet
Ellen Seeling – trumpet
Alex Foster – saxophone
Jean Fineberg – saxophone
Barry Rogers – trombone
Gene Orloff – concert master